Before Summer Rain
A storm can provoke many emotions in a person. Rainer Maria Rilke in his poetry cleverly insinuates themes of nature, religion, and childhood, from a personal aspect to a collective one. The poem, Before Summer Rain, describes the narrator’s experience of the encroaching storm, as he/she stares out of a window. Rilke, in his poem, Before Summer Rain, evokes emotions associated with witnessing a storm and how these feelings compel him to recollect his childhood. The structure of the poem is intuitively assembled to follow a mood of anticipation and then to a feeling of nostalgia. At the beginning of the poem, the reader is presented with the title, “Before Summer Rain”; this phrase has a positive connotation to it, implying a sunny summer’s day with a soft rain shower. However, as one reads the first line of the poem there is an immediate juxtaposition, “suddenly, from all the green around you”. Just from the title to the first line there is a shift in tempo, the pleasant title opposed to the fast first line, not only surprises the reader, but immediately grasps their attention. The poem is four stanzas long, with four verses in the first two stanzas and then only three verses in the third and fourth stanzas. The one less verse in the third and fourth stanzas provides further meaning to the theme. For instance in the first and second stanza the reader is forced into the poem with a fast tempo, “feel it creeping closer”, showing the anxiety building up and up while the storm encroaches. However, in the third stanza there is a shift in tempo, due to the start of the rain. Once the storm starts at the end of stanza two, “requests the downpour”, the narrator talks about the past, “ancient portraits”. The poem does not feel quite as immediate and fast as it did in the first two stanzas, it slows down, and the reader can almost sense this fading recollection of the past, and because of this, the last two stanzas have one less...
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